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The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School

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The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School

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Sweet Treats by Julie

Roots and rhythms: Embracing My Puerto Rican heritage

Juliana Duperval stands in the PPCHS courtyard, holding the Puerto Rican flag. Her heritage is an important part of her identity, from the traditions to music and everything in between.
(Juliette Montes)

In my American life, I often found myself caught between worlds. Growing up in a melting pot of cultures, I struggled to define my identity. But amidst the chaos, there was always a steady heartbeat calling me home—my Puerto Rican heritage. 

The Delmorals, my family name, go back generations. I never considered it anything but a last name, until recently. My abuelo, or what I like to call him, Papa, shaped most of my heritage for me as a young child. He encouraged the family to speak to me in Spanish, played iconic Puerto Rican classics, and taught me to play many different instruments. 

My favorite family tradition is that once a year we get together and play these instruments together. Most, if not all, of my family members are musicians and we as a family love to come as one and make these memories. 

After every jam session, we would listen to “Tu No Le Amas, Le Temes” by Luis Enrique, a famous Nicaraguan singer. You may be wondering, “Why such a random song?”, “It’s not even Puerto Rican!”, but surprisingly my Tio Andy played the iconic piano solo in that song and continued to play for Luis Enrique for a long time (If you listen to the song, the solo is at the timestamp: 2:18). 

Along with that, another one of my uncle’s cousin plays the bass for one of the most influential Puerto Rican singers, Romeo Santos. I got the honor to go to my first concert last June as Romeo gifted us free floor tickets. All of these experiences have influenced my Puerto Rican identity.  It wasn’t until I embarked on a journey of self-discovery that I realized the significance of embracing my roots. Like many others of Puerto Rican descent, my cultural identity was a tapestry woven with threads of resilience, passion, and pride.

Fellow Puerto Rican student, Justin Machado, finds the heart of his heritage in the food. “Puerto Rican food is a delicious mix of flavors from different cultures like Spanish, African, and Taíno,” he says. “From dishes like ‘mofongo’ to ‘arroz con gandules,’ each bite is a taste of the island’s history.” 

Embracing my Puerto Rican heritage wasn’t just about celebrating where I came from; it was about honoring those who came before me and paving the way for the future generations. It was about reclaiming my identity and finding strength in my roots. In a world that often seeks to homogenize cultures, embracing my Puerto Rican heritage became an act of resistance—a declaration of who I am and where I come from. It’s a reminder that diversity is our greatest strength and that our differences should be celebrated, not erased. 

Puerto Rican food is a delicious mix of flavors from different cultures like Spanish, African, and Taíno…from dishes like ‘mofongo’ to ‘arroz con gandules,’ each bite is a taste of the island’s history.”

So, as I walk through my everyday life, I carry with me the rhythms of Puerto Rico—the beat of the bomba drums, the melody of the cuatro guitar, the laughter of my ancestors echoing in the wind. And with each step, I embrace my culture, my heritage, and all that makes me who I am.

Sweet Treats by Julie
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About the Contributor
Juliette Montes
Juliette Montes, Photo Staff
Hi! My name is Juliette Montes, I'm currently a senior, and this is my first year in the CHAT. I will be a Photographer/ Broadcasting Member in the CHAT. I love art (photography/cinematography/painting). In my free time I like to read, travel, and hang out with my friends and family. I’m beyond looking forward to becoming a reliable asset to the team, and creating an immersive CHAT for everyone to enjoy:) If you ever need to contact me, reach me at [email protected].

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